Photo Courtesy of Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office
“This New Year we can celebrate another critical step towards building a more fair and equitable city,” said Mayor de Blasio.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Hundreds of thousands of borough homeowners received an early Christmas gift last week from the State Court of Appeals after it decided to uphold the City Water Board’s issuance of credits.
Due to this ruling, 664,000 NYC homeowners – including 277,495 in Queens – can receive a credit of $183 on an upcoming water bill.
“By upholding the Water Board’s broad authority to set water rates, the Court of Appeals has helped to ensure the long-term strength of New York City’s vital water systems,” said Ozone Park native and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We also work very hard to keep water rates reasonable, and the $183 credit will go a long way to helping some of our customers with their bill.”
The City proposed the $183 credit in 2016 as part of the Water Board’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The board approved the credit, however later that year a legal challenge was filed and the New York County Supreme Court invalidated the the board’s resolution, including the $183 credit. The Water Board appealed the decision, which was subsequently upheld by the Appellate Division’s First Department. The State Court of Appeals upheld the board’s authority to issue the credit at issue and its broad discretion in setting water rates.
“The court’s decision clears the way for the Water Board to provide welcome financial relief for more than 664,000 New York homeowners,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “They can now receive a credit on an upcoming water bill, keeping money in the pockets of hard working New York families. This New Year we can celebrate another critical step towards building a more fair and equitable city.”
According to the administration, the $183 credit represents a nearly 17-percent savings on the annual water and sewer bills for a typical single-family homeowner. For approximately 150,000 homeowners, many of whom are seniors, who use less than 95 gallons of water per day and pay the minimum charge, the credit represents a nearly 40-percent savings on their annual water and sewer bills.
The court’s ruling will directly impact many residents of south Queens communities.
“Community Board 10 Queens’ housing stock is primarily comprised of 1- and 2-family owner-occupied homes,” said CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton. “Our district has one of the highest concentrations of single and 2-family homes in the city. We commend the court’s decision that will allow these homeowners to benefit from this much needed $183 credit to their water and sewer accounts.”
Community Board 10 includes Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park.
“Rising water rates have been a concern for homeowners across our city for far too long. The New York Court of Appeals decision to uphold the city’s Water Board credit is a welcome announcement for thousands of New York City families, who will benefit from the relief provided in an upcoming water bill,” said Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), whose 24th District includes part of Richmond Hill. “I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for initially bringing this proposal to light and helping make our city more affordable for New York homeowners.”